Terror effect: drug shortage in Manipur | india | Hindustan Times
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Terror effect: drug shortage in Manipur

Pharmaceutical companies have allegedly stopped sending supplies to Manipur following an extortion notice to them from an insurgent group demanding 30 per cent of the profits they earn from sales in the state.

india Updated: Aug 14, 2007 03:01 IST
Sobhapati Samom

Pharmaceutical companies have allegedly stopped sending supplies to Manipur following an extortion notice to them from an insurgent group demanding 30 per cent of the profits they earn from sales in the state.

An atmosphere of terror has descended in the last few days. Stockists were too terrified to even name the insurgent group which had made the demand, but they confirmed that drug supplies were running dangerously low. "We have stocks to last another 10 days at best," said an Imphal distributor, unwilling to be named.

"It is not only life saving drugs, which are already in short supply," said a local shopkeeper. " We may even run out of material like syringes after a week if this continues."

While drug companies were not available for comment, Health Minister Pheroijam Parijat appeared on a local television channel on Monday to appeal to residents of the state not to panic. "The government will make all necessary arrangements for the supply of essential drugs," he said. "There is no reason to worry."

"We have not received any formal complaint," said Clay Khongsai, Superintendent of Police, Imphal West district. "But we are doing our job."

There are around 15 insurgent groups currently operating in the state, half a dozen in the Manipur valley and the remaining in the hills surrounding it.

"For the last few days I was unable to buy Lopimune, a drug I need regularly," said Bobby, an AIDS patient and secretary of the Manipur Network of Positive People. " Luckily, I have managed to get some now. But I don't know when this will be over. What will happen to people like us. Are we all going to die?"

Pharmacists insist they have put in their orders but the drug companies are just not responding.